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Vulnerability of nuclear reactors to extreme weather events. Flooding all too close to North Korea’s main nuclear reactor

North Korea floods kill 22, approach nuclear reactor — but Kim doesn’t want help, WP, By Simon Denyer  August 14, 2020 ,  TOKYO — Flooding caused by weeks of unusually heavy monsoon rains has killed at least 22 people in North Korea, with four others missing, and even approached the country’s main nuclear reactor, but leader Kim Jong Un says he is too worried about coronavirus to accept outside help.

The International Federation of the Red Cross said the floods have left at least 22 people dead and four missing, citing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Red Cross and the country’s State Committee for Emergency and Disaster Management.

The floodwaters approached the Yongbyon nuclear complex last week, reaching the bases of two pump houses designed to cool the country’s main nuclear reactor, according to the 38 North website, citing satellite imagery.

The floodwaters have receded somewhat and pose “no imminent danger,” as the main reactor apparently has not been operating for some time and a nearby experimental light water reactor has yet to come online, said Jenny Town, deputy director of 38 North, part of the Stimson Center.

“In the long run, though, it exposes a vulnerability of the reactors to extreme weather events such as floods,” she wrote in an email, noting that North Korea has been working on building an embankment and dam along the Kuryong River to offer better protection.

“But this year, the river level is usually high,” Town added. “If this were to happen when a reactor was running, it could cause problems in the cooling systems that would necessitate the reactors to be shut down.” ……….–but-kim-doesnt-want-help/2020/08/13/f53992a8-ddda-11ea-b4f1-25b762cdbbf4_story.html

August 15, 2020 - Posted by | climate change, North Korea

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